Due to a midseason trade, Roy Oswalt has faced the Giants four times in 2010. That wouldn’t be strange if he was traded from the Diamondbacks to the Padres, but for a guy to pitch that many times against a team that isn’t in his own division is an oddity with the unbalanced schedule MLB has had in place for a decade. Here’s how he did:
April 5 (5-2 SFG win at HOU): L, 6 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 K
May 15 (2-1 SFG win over HOU): L, 7 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 7 K
June 22 (3-1 SFG win at HOU): L, 7 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K
August 17 (9-3 PHI win over SFG): W, 7 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 7 K
Notice a pattern? Oswalt performed virtually the same in every outing against the Giants, but when he was an Astro and faced Tim Lincecum (as he did in each of his first three gaves against the Giants), he lost. Pitching as a Phillie against Barry Zito, and life is much easier.
Any lineup changes for the Giants?
Doubtful. For those hoping for Bruce Bochy to flip-flop Juan Uribe and Cody Ross, don’t hold your breath. Uribe’s 4-for-9 with a homer against Oswalt this year. The other guy with ownage on Oswalt in 2010 is MIA (Jose Guillen, who went 3-for-6 with a HR). Posey went 2-for-3 with a couple singles the first time facing Oswalt, and there isn’t much to excite the senses after that.
Neither Mike Fontenot nor Pablo Sandoval have done a whole lot against Oswalt, but Fontenot has a lot more experience against Oswalt (and Bochy’s sure to remember that the guys who fared best against Roy Halladay last night were the guys who’d faced him the most). That, along with Sandoval’s quick career path toward becoming a designated hitter, will keep Fontenot in there.
Update: before I could post this, the lineups got posted. Same as yesterday.
Forget Roy No. 2, it’s all about Sanchy No. 1
He’s got to have that dirty slider again, because Jonathan Sanchez is going to face a pitcher who’s pretty much guaranteed to pitch 6-7 innings and give up 2-3 runs against the Giants, who score between 2-4 runs against everybody. The question is not whether Sanchez can neutralize the Phillies’ supposed “best offense in baseball” (according to the Fox commercials running on KNBR, anyway). The last time Sanchez was in Philadelphia was only a couple months ago (August 19), he threw 8 shutout innings, then gave up a single to Shane Victorino to lead off the ninth and was removed from the game. Then Sergio Romo gave up a single to Chase Utley, got 2 outs and then both Victorino and Utley scored on a Mike Sweeney double before Brian Wilson was brought into save the game. Sound familiar?
Chances are we won’t see Romo following Sanchez if he leaves in the late innings with a lead. And Sanchez has been perhaps the best pitcher around since September 1. So we know the guy won’t get too nervous. The only way Sanchez doesn’t pitch well today is if he’s overconfident or runs into a strange strike zone early and lets his tendency to be a perfectionist get the best of him.
Ryan Howard didn’t face Sanchez in August (funny that Howard spent this afternoon preparing for his matchup with Sanchez by attending the Eagles game), but he did in Sanchez’s first win over the Phillies this year, a 5-1 win on April 26 over Halladay where Sanchez threw 107 pitches over 5 innings. Remember that Sanchez? He’s gone now, thankfully, which is why Bochy felt confident swapping him with Matt Cain in the rotation. And after the way fly balls were soaring out to right field yesterday (both of Ross’ homers would have been homers at AT&T Park, too), I don’t think it was a bad idea for the two to switch places, even if it does mean Cain would pitch Game 7 if necessary, in Philly.
Two last things about today’s game…
— Like I said earlier this week, Utley will probably get plunked. Also, have you noticed every time he hits the ball, how he runs about six feet inside the first base line? Like Derek Jeter and Frank Robinson, I guess some of the great ones not only want to hit the ball, but get hit by it as well.
— Could be interesting to see if the Giants either laughed off all the heckling from last night (the stuff directed to Lincecum, particularly) or if they’re going to play this game a little angry. Especially Sanchez, who seems like the type of guy this season that would want to personally shut up Philly’s fans himself. Since it’s baseball it’s probably a non-story, but don’t be surprised to see Sanchez glance up into the stands while walking to the dugout at the end of an inning or two.